council_minutes by ashrafp


									                     Minutes of the World Schools Debating Council
                                1 February 2002, 9.15 am
                       Kallang Room, Concorde Hotel, Singapore

CHAIRMAN:              Gurdip Singh, Singapore
CO-CHAIRMAN:           Geetha Creffield, Singapore
SECRETARY:             Benedict Teo, Singapore

Argentina – Sebastian Percival
Australia – Rob Koh
Bermuda – Mary Murray
Brunei – Mohammad Abooh H.A. Damit
Canada – Harold Kyte
Czech Republic – John Wickham
England – Trevor Sather
Estonia – Katrin Viru
Germany – Michael Pates
Greece – Russell Courts
Hong Kong – David Milnes
Ireland – Dick Wafer
Israel – Mishael Zion
Lithuania – Virginija Paksiene
Netherlands – Jeannette Baljeu
New Zealand – Hayden Ryan
Pakistan – Saleem Kashmiri
Peru – Sixto G. Ramos
Scotland – Pat Slaven
Singapore – Geetha Creffield
Slovakia – Eliska Kutenicova
Slovenia – Skrt Bojana
South Africa – Nick Ferreira
USA – Phyllis Hirth
Wales – David Pritchard

Indonesia – Ria Nuri Dharmawan
Kuwait – Andrew Kenning
Philippines – Eleanor Uy

Argentina – Daniela Senes
Bermuda – Gladstone Thompson
Canada – Kristopher Ade
England – Debbie Newman
England – Ian MacMullen
Estonia – Ragnar Siil
Lithuania – Alina Gutauskiene
Malaysia – Mr Jagjeet Singh
Malaysia – Mrs Jagjeet Singh
New Zealand – Rosemary Dixon
New Zealand – Andrew Stockley (Chief Adjudicator)
Pakistan – Aisha Ahmed
Peru – Alberto Varela
Peru – Daphnie Drassinova
Philippines – Lisandro Claudio
Scotland – Diana Gotts
Singapore – Rajpal Singh
Singapore – Mark Gabriel
Slovenia – George Yeoman
South Africa – Jared Licina
USA – Jim Dutcher
USA – Sue Wenzlaff
Wales – James Brimble
Wales – Martin Pollard

1. Ratification of minutes of the previous Council meeting in
   Johannesburg 2001
Item 1: Recognition of voting and non-voting members. The list provided in the previous minutes
was incomplete. Greece and Estonia were omitted. The Council noted the mistake and they were
added to the list.

Name list of persons present at the previous Council meeting. It was noted that the attendance
list of the previous meeting omitted several observers. They are – Emma Coldrick (Ireland), Mark
Gabriel (Singapore), and James Brimble (Wales).

A motion to ratify the 2001 minutes with the above-mentioned amendments was proposed by
Ireland, seconded by Peru and unanimously passed.

2. Amendments to the World Schools Debating Championship Rules
Mark Gabriel highlighted that the following rules were changed during 2001/2002 via a postal
ballot and were in effect as of the 2002 competition.

For record purposes, the rule changes and the results of the postal ballots are given below.
The 20 countries that voted in these ballots were as follows:

1. Argentina            2. Australia             3. Bermuda
4. Brunei               5. Czech Republic        6. England
7. Estonia              8. Greece                9. Hong Kong
10. Isreal              11. New Zealand          12. Pakistan
13. Peru                14. Portugal             15. Scotland
16. Singapore           17. Slovakia             18. Slovenia
19. South Africa        20. USA

Proposed by: England
Seconded by: South Africa

To amend point 19 to read:

“19. (a) A special award shall be made to the highest-ranked team whose members speak
English as a second language.

(b) The Council shall determine which teams are eligible for the award, taking into account
whether English is either an official language or a major language spoken in a country.
(c) A team which reaches the Semi-Final of the Championships is ineligible for the award.

(d) All teams that make the Semi-Finals shall be given an award.”

Reasons for this proposed amendment:
This proposal follows on from a discussion at the last Worlds Council meeting in Johannesburg.
The change being proposed here is to point (a), which previously stated that an award should be
given to the “most promising” ESL team.

The general feeling in Johannesburg seemed to be that the wording in the Rules is too subjective.
Practice in recent years has always been that the ESL award is given to the highest-ranked team.
Indeed some delegates at the last Worlds Council believed that this already was the rule. The
proposed new wording reflects this and leaves no room for confusion. It is qualified by Rule 19 (c)
which states that any team reaching the Semi-Finals will not be eligible for the ESL award.

Results of Ballot:       For              19
                         Against           1 (USA)
                         Abstain           0

The motion was thus approved by the World Council

Proposed by: Singapore
Seconded by: South Africa

To amend point 7 to read:

“7. (a) At the end of the preliminary rounds, teams shall be ranked according to the number of
wins. If teams are tied on the same number of wins, they shall be separated where practicable by
elimination debates and otherwise on the following priority:
(i) number of adjudications in favour of the team
(ii) average judges‟ scores for each team.”

Reasons for this proposed amendment:
The change proposed here is to delete the current point (ii), which states that after looking at the
number of adjudications the team has gained, the next tie-breaker will be a “count back to
preliminary rounds in which those teams debated”.

This rule probably made good sense at the time when the World Schools Debating
Championships were much smaller. However in a tournament with over 30 teams, the existing
rule has the potential to cause great confusion and place the organisers in a very difficult position.

With tournament schedules being very tight, elimination debates are unlikely to be practical in
most Worlds Schools competitions. Therefore, where teams win the same number of preliminary
round debates, they should then be separated by the total number of judges‟ ballots they have
gained over the eight debates. With over 30 teams, there is a strong possibility that more than
two teams will be tied on both wins and judges‟ ballots. (In Johannesburg, there were three
separate cases of three teams having the same number of wins and adjudications in their favour.)

Under the current rule, the organisers must then consider debates between the teams involved to
determine which team is ranked higher. Consider the following hypothetical example:
Teams A, B and C all have the same number of wins and judges ballots in their favour.
    B has not debated against A or C, but C has beaten A
    A has the highest average judges‟ score
    B has the next highest
    C has the lowest average judges‟ score

Which team is given the highest ranking in this situation?
    Is it first C (having beaten A), then B (points), then A (having lost to C)?
    Is it first C (having beaten A), then A (points), then B?
    Is it first B (met neither, points), then C (having beaten A), then A (having
       lost to C)?

This could potentially have been the situation in South Africa, where Wales, Israel and Germany
finished in 15th, 16th, and 17th places with equal numbers of wins and ballots. (As it turned out,
Wales with the highest points had met neither of the other teams, while Israel with the next
highest points had beaten Germany, so there was no confusion.) If a situation like the
hypothetical one outlined above was to occur with the teams in 15th-17th places, the organisers
would be placed in an extremely difficult position to determine which of the teams made the
break. One team would up feeling (with some justification) that they had been cheated out a place
in the Octo-Finals, and the organisers would most likely have to deal with some difficult protests
before the Octo-Finals could proceed.

The solution being proposed is for the count-back to past results between the teams to be taken
out of consideration when ranking teams tied on the same number of wins. Instead, rankings will
be based firstly on the total number of judges‟ ballots given to the team, and secondly on their
average judges‟ score. This will allow the organisers of the championships to produce an easy-to-
understand league table at the end of the preliminary rounds. It will mean that all rankings are
based on a mathematical calculation, and not anything more subjective which could be disputed.
It will also mean that the teams‟ rankings will be entirely based on their scores over all eight of the
preliminary rounds, and not on one debate where they may have performed above or below their
usual standard.

Results of Ballot:       For              19
                         Against           1 (New Zealand)
                         Abstain           0

The motion was thus approved by the World Council

3. Appeals Committee Report
Mark Gabriel was the only representative of the Appeals Committee present at the meeting. He
reported that the committee did not have to deal with any formal appeal.

Mark Gabriel proposed that the future composition of the committee would have a representative
each from the previous host country, the current host country, and the next host country. This
was to ensure a continuation of representatives such that vital experience is not lost. Hence for
this term, South Africa, Singapore, and the next host country would form the members of the
Appeals Committee.

Trevor Sather (England) suggested that he was going to suggest some significant changes to the
committee that runs the Worlds between competitions and that we should hold back confirmation
of any Appeals Committee until his proposal has been considered.
The Chairman agreed with Trevor‟s suggestion and proposed a motion to put on hold the
appointment of any Appeals Committee members for the time being. The proposal was seconded
by Peru and passed by the Council.

It was also agreed that while we put on hold appointing the “other members of the Appeals
Committee”, there was no Chairman and we should appoint a Chairman.

Geetha Creffield (Singapore) then nominated Andrew Stockley (New Zealand) to be the
Chairman of the Appeals Committee. This was seconded by Lithuania and passed unanimously
by the Council.

4. Institutionalisation of Worlds
Trevor Sather (England) proposed the institutionalisation of Worlds as an international body with
the objective of managing Worlds between competitions; without a legal incorporation initially but
with consideration for legal incorporation at a later date.

Trevor‟s idea was to have a group of people with debating as an interest (not necessarily Worlds
Council members) to form the core group. This group would replace the Appeals Committee.

He then discussed briefly the composition of this group and the proposal was then opened for
general feedback and discussion.

Some of the comments from the members were:

Sebastian Percival (Argentina) agreed with the principle behind the proposal, commenting that
the Council seems to only consider and add issues in an ad-hoc manner during individual

Phyllis Hirth (USA) queried the membership structure of this new body, and wondered who
should be allowed to take part

        - Trevor Sather replied that it would adopt an inclusive structure with representatives from
        around the world. He also suggested that it would be led by a 10 member team with
        individual portfolios.

Geetha Creffield (Singapore) raised the concern that in order for this proposal to get going, there
would be a need for a rolling fund. She wanted to know how this could be obtained.

        -   Trevor Sather replied that England will contribute towards meeting some amount of
            the costs involved, and he is certain that others will contribute in the same way.

Hayden Ryan (New Zealand) advised the Council to approach this proposal with caution. He saw
this body as encroaching on the activities of the convenor of the competition.

        -   Sebastian Percival replied that the function of this body was to give most countries
            the support they need during the course of the year. It would not get involved with
            organising Worlds per se.

Pat Slaven (Scotland) agreed with Sebastian Percival on the need for a body to provide advice
and support countries during the year.

Andrew Stockley (New Zealand) clarified that since the only concern was that convenors would
be impeded, we would therefore need a detailed proposal to avoid such conflict.
David Pritchard (Wales) echoed Andrew Stockley‟s sentiments and urged the Council to start with
the proposal immediately. He wanted the new body to include as many people as possible, and
for the Council to see it through.

Jeannette Baljeu (Netherlands) suggested that in order for the new body to work in a more
representative way, regional groupings might be set up.

Nick Ferreira (South Africa) was concerned that regional groupings would increase the level of
bureaucracy, and this would be unnecessary.

Dick Wafer (Ireland) registered his concern that this does not just become an administrative body.
But he would otherwise support the idea whole-heartedly.

Bermuda proposed Trevor Sather to circulate a draft proposal of the new body within a month of
the meeting, for discussion by the members of the Council. This was seconded by Argentina, and
accepted unanimously by the Council.

Israel proposed to hold a vote on the draft proposal by the end of March. This was seconded by
South Africa, and unanimously passed by the Council.

Lithuania proposed that Singapore organise the vote on the draft proposal. This was seconded by
Pakistan and passed by the Council unanimously.

5. World Schools Debating Council Incorporation
Geetha Creffield advised that none of the members of the Incorporation Committee that was
formed last year were present and based on her understanding there had been no progress in
this matter.

Most of the members present expressed concern that we appoint the committee at one Worlds
Council meeting and little is done in between.

Trevor confirmed his understanding of the same as Geetha‟s and proposed that we dissolve the
committee; especially in light of the proposal being discussed above. The proposal was seconded
by Singapore and unanimously accepted.

Phyllis Hirth (USA) stated that she has incorporated an international body in the US.

Trevor Sather (England) replied that Canada is also willing to incorporate such a body.

David Pritchard (Wales) proposed the winding up of this discussion until we have had an
opportunity to go through the proposal raised by Trevor Sather. This was seconded by Michael
Pates (Germany) and passed by the Council.

6. E.S.L. Award
Mark Gabriel wanted confirmation from the Council of the status as Kuwait as an ESL nation.

        -   Andrew Kenning (Kuwait) explained that in this particular year, the team was an ESL
            team, since they were ethnically Asian, and their first language was not English.
            However, he suggested, if the Kuwaiti team in the future were made up of children of
            American or English expatriates, then the ESL status would be inappropriate.
        -   Trevor Sather (England) highlighted the fact that since the rule book referred to an
            ESL team „whose members speak English‟ as a second language, the focus is not on
            the country which the members represent, but rather their individual proficiency with
            the language. Therefore, individual countries could be ESL and non-ESL, depending
            on the make-up of the team.

        -   Mishael Zion (Israel) warned that it would prove too controversial to split hairs and
            determine when a team, or even individuals within a team, were proficient in English,
            and to what degree.

        -   John Wickham (Czech Republic) suggested that it would be up to the individual
            coach at registration to decide, based on the member composition of his team,
            whether he would want his team to be considered as an ESL team.

        -   Sebastian Percival (Argentina) raised the critical difference between an ESL team
            and an EFL team and suggested that EFL teams faced greater language barriers,
            simply because of the lack of emphasis on learning the language back home.

        -   Slovenia proposed a draft to split ESL from EFL and to circulate the draft for
            approval. This was seconded by Israel, and approved by the Council. The draft is to
            be circulated by the end of March.

Based on the above, Gurdip Singh (Chairman) then declared Kuwait as the winner of the ESL
award for 2002 with a round of applause from all members.

7. Future Hosts Countries
Gurdip Singh advised that since Argentina has pulled out of hosting the 2003 debates and we still
have no host confirmed for 2004, we needed to decide on these urgently.

He then requested Sebastain Percival (Argentina) to update the members of the 2003 situation.

WSDC 2003

Sebastian Percival (Argentina) explained to the Council the reasons why Argentina will be unable
to host the 2003 Competition. He cited the social and economic unrest that is plaguing the
country as a key consideration. He would nonetheless offer a solution of a Pan-American bid held
in Peru, where he would help in the organising committee together with Daniela Senes
(Argentina). He believes that Peru 2003 would be a great success.

        -   Gurdip Singh proposed a vote of thanks to Sebastian and Daniela for their efforts in
            this very difficult time. The vote was moved with acclamation and there was
            unanimous support.

Andrew Kenning offered Kuwait as a „safety net‟ option. But he raised the concern that the
country would deny Israel the right to participate, and thus he is very unwilling to convene the
competition in Kuwait.

        -   It was pointed out by Geetha Creffield (Singapore) that the exclusion of a country
            from a competition on such grounds would contravene the Charter.
The discussion then opened to the floor and various countries were informally asked if they were
keen to host.

        -   Ireland would not be willing to host the competition till 2007

        -   David Pritchard offered a list of criteria for determining the next host and his
            paramount concern was safety. He also cited concerns with finances and
            accommodation as critical in determining the next host country.

Sue Wenzlaff presented an intention to bid for 2003 by Wayne State University in Detroit,
Michigan. She promised a formal bid by 1 March 2002. She also distributed a letter from Jack
Kay, Associate Provost for Global Education and Professor of Communication in Wayne State
University, expressing their interest to bid for the competition.

Peru was asked if they would host the competition in 2003. They replied that they would need
logistic support from many in the Council, and that registration fees might be raised. They also
highlighted that the competition would probably be in August. Sixto Ramos would like 5 months to
confirm their bid.

        -   Sebastain Percival (Argentina) pledged its support for a Peruvian bid.

        -   Phyllis Hirth (USA) pledged its support for a Peruvian bid as well.

        -   Gurdip Singh (Chairman, Singapore) offered Peru whatever help they will need for
            planning the competition.

        -   John Wickham (Czeach Republic) wanted a gauge of the respective support for the
            competing bids from Detroit and Peru. The Council then decided unanimously that
            we would give the participants up to 1 March 2002 to present their respective bids. If
            there are any queries, it should be made known before that date.

Gurdip Singh advised that any country (not limited to Peru and Detroit) wishing to bid for 2003
should submit their bids to Singapore by 1 March 2002 and we will arrange for a postal ballot
from Singapore. All bids will be considered by the Council.

WSDC 2004

Both Scotland and Germany signalled their intention to submit bids for WSDC 2004. Pat Slaven
(Scotland) told the Council that she will submit a formal bid after summer 2002, and Michael
Pates (Germany) will submit his bid by 31 July 2002.

Skrt Bojana (Slovenia) suggested the possibility of Croatia for WSDC 2004.
Geetha Creffield (Co-Chairman) proposed that all bids for 2004 be submitted by 31 July 2002,
and the Council will take it from there. This was seconded by Greece and passed by the Council.

WSDC 2005

The Council was informed that Canada‟s plans to host the competition in 2005 were underway,
and there was no indication that there would be any problems. The members of the organising
committee would be in attendance at the next World Council Meeting.
8. AOB

Mishael Zion (Israel) raised the concern on how we approached “definitions” in the competition.
He was concerned with place sets and attempts at modelling and contextualising a debate.

Andrew Stockley (New Zealand) explained the need to analyse a motion as a whole by illustrating
a principle which is true in the majority of circumstances. He further went on to make clear that
teams should engage the plain meaning of the motion. He raised several reasons for this:

        a. Both teams are given similar preparation time. So it would be unfair for the
           proposition to limit the debate in a manner which deprives the opposition the fair use
           of their time to prepare for the motion. Both teams should reasonably know the
           context of the motion when they prepare for one hour to debate.

        b. The audience is misled when teams artificially limit a debate or refuse to engage the
           plain meaning of the motion. The audience will see instead a technical and artificial
           debate, which will turn them off. The key consideration should be what is the
           reasonable expectation of the audience?

Andrew also noted that the current problem comes from enthusiasm from the universities‟ style of
debating. But the difference is that in that format, preparation time is really limited and the
proposition has a near absolute right to define a motion. He suggested that this is very different
from our approach.

Russell Courts (Greece) observed that uncertainty in approaching definitions forces teams to be
more cautious. He asked for a more definite and certain standard.

Trevor Sather (England) responded that the standards are fairly certain. But that this is usually
made known at the adjudicators‟ briefing, which the coaches do not attend. He suggested that
coaches should be made to attend the briefing, so that what gets decided there can actually
make a difference in the competition. This will be considered by the next host country.

Ian MacMullen (England) highlighted the need to quantify the meaning of „in the majority of
circumstances‟. He observed that in a generalised motion, this is very difficult to do. He felt that
setting a limit and focus in a debate of such a nature would not deprive the opposition of time to
prepare, if the limit and focus set still allows the general principle to be debated.

Harold Kyte (Canada) observed that it was critical that teams do not try to cheat by unfairly
limiting the motion or skewing the motion in their favour.

Diana Gotts (Scotland) made it clear to the Council that Scotland had not attempted to cheat in
their semi-finals against Australia. They honestly believed that they could limit the debate in that

David Pritchard (Wales) noted that motions were increasingly narrow in scope. But that does not
in itself exclude the possibility of debating the general issue behind the motion.

John Wickham (Czech Republic) pointed out to the Council that there is a need to consider
motions and their universality before setting them. Cultural differences can result in mistaken
beliefs on what the motion is about. Or the fact that certain cultures are not exposed to certain
concepts can hamper their ability to recognise and deal with issues in a debate.
The Chairman requested for an informal vote around the room to gauge support for the believe
that the general principle behind a motion must always be the focus of every debate, and that
limitations that do not allow the general principle to be debated on cannot be accepted.
The result was 31–6 in favour of the statement.

Andrew Stockley (New Zealand) was then requested to draft a page on interpreting a general
principle, to clarify any doubts on this matter and circulate to all Council members.

Materials allowed in for preparation of an impromptu case-set

Hayden Ryan (New Zealand) raised a concern that for impromptu debates, debaters should not
bring any material into the preparation room. He felt that this negates the nature of an impromptu
debate, where the real test is whether the speaker can come up with something on the spot.
Allowing him to bring in prepared cases from the past negates this.

David Pritchard (Wales) also mentioned that teams work too hard on motions.

Rosemary Dixon (New Zealand) in reply stated that it was important to maintain the standard in
the competition. She was unwilling to see a drop-off in the quality of debates, and felt we
shouldn‟t stop teams from working hard.

An informal vote was held as to whether delegates were concerned with the amount of material
teams took into the preparation room. 25 voted that they were concerned, whilst 17 felt that they
were not concerned.

Based on the results of the informal vote, the Chairman requested Hayden Ryan (New Zealand)
to draft an amendment to the rule on the amount of material (maybe only a dictionaries or two ?)
be allowed to be brought into a case set for impromptu debates and be circulated for a postal
ballot by Singapore.

International Debate Education Association

The Council was invited to attend the various workshops and activities held in Slovakia this
summer. More information could be found on their website at


Trevor Sather (England) noted that it was beneficial to have international voices in organising the
adjudication aspects of the competition. He believes that the alternative views on motions and
similar concerns result in a higher standard of debate as a whole.

Andrew Stockley (New Zealand) was appointed by the Council to rephrase the following:

        -   wording of the marking standard, in order for it to sound less vindictive.

        -   that written comments should not form part of the adjudication sheet in future.

        -   the clause prohibiting communication devices in the rules, in order to
                reflect the changing communication devices currently available.
8. Vote of Thanks
Sebastian Percival (Argentina) offered a vote of thanks on behalf of the delegates of the World
Council to Gurdip Singh and the rest of the organising committee for an excellent competition.

There being no further business, the meeting was closed at 12.25 pm.


Minutes Recorded by:           Benedict Teo (Singapore)
Minutes Approved by:           Gurdip Singh (Chairman, Singapore)
                               Geetha Creffield (Co-Chairman, Singapore)


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